MOSCOW, September 18. /TASS/. Russia will continue to develop cooperation in the Arctic with countries outside the region, such as China and India, after quitting the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, Nikita Lipunov, an analyst at the Institute of International Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told TASS.
"Among the non-regional states that are interested in the Arctic, I think primarily China and India could be such partners, and Russia is already actively engaging with them on Arctic issues," said the analyst who specializes in Northern Europe and the Arctic.
According to Lipunov, Russia's withdrawal from the BEAC is "a logical and natural phase of the gradual dismantling of the system of multilateral international cooperation in the Arctic," which was initiated by the West after February 2022.
"The work of the BEAC was essentially suspended in March 2022. Russia's withdrawal was motivated by the fact that the Finnish side, which had held the presidency of the BEAC for the past two years, failed to ensure the transition of the chairmanship to Russia in October. They effectively refused to pass it over to Russia, thus flagrantly violating the procedural rules of the council," the analyst said.
"Russia's withdrawal from the BEAC is a formalization of the status that has developed over the past year and a half. The BEAC itself is essentially dysfunctional, and cross-border and interregional cooperation between Russia and the Nordic countries has been effectively curtailed. By its decision to leave the format, Russia not only formalizes this situation, but also sends a signal that it will not tolerate violation of its rights," Lipunov continued.
"Nevertheless, Russia's withdrawal from the BEAC is not the complete end of multilateral cooperation between the Arctic countries. Russia still remains a member of the Arctic Council - the main international platform in the region - and is determined to work constructively there if its rights are respected and its interests are taken into account," Lipunov went on to say. "The BEAC is a more local story. It is a forum for cooperation between the northern regions of Europe with strong EU influence, which made it a more politicized format. The Arctic Council is a more global format that encompasses all regional and many non-regional players, and in this sense it has more potential."
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier said that Russia had decided to secede from the BEAC. It blamed the Western participants of the council (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and the EU) for effectively paralyzing its activity since March 2022. The ministry stated that Russia would continue to implement its national goals in the North.